Two people involved in a dispute might agree mutually to sort the issue, but that does not mean a serious offence can be quashed.
This was the message given by the Bombay High Court while observing that people would otherwise use money and muscle power to settle disputes and defeat justice.
The Aurangabad bench of the high court refused to quash a first information report and chargesheet against Rama Bade (47) and nine others who claimed they had settled their dispute with the complainant, Lilabai More (46).
In August 2007, More, a resident of Dhakanwadi in Ahmednagar, had lodged a police complaint against 10 people under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and Indian Penal Code.
More resides with her husband, Khanu, three sons and two daughters.
On July 12, 2007, More’s bullock strayed into Bade’s field. That evening, Bade and his friends went to More’s house and abused More’s son and allegedly pelted stones at him.
On July 28, 2008, another accused, Laxman Dhakane (36), stopped More’s son and daughter from entering the school saying that children of ‘Bhil’ community should not be allowed to study in same school as other children. The accused even damaged the roof of their house.
The accused were arrested on August 31, 2007 and released on bail on the same day.
Due to intervention and mediation of village elders the accused and complainant sorted out their misunderstanding in August 2009.
The accused then sought quashing of the FIR, stating that as they had reached a settlement.
“If prosecution continues, prosecution witness will turn hostile and it would be futile exercise,” said advocate for the petitioners, Joydeep Chatterji.
Additional Public Prosecutor B.V. Wagh opposed the petition.
The high court refused to quash the FIR, saying that even if there is no likelihood of the accused being convicted, the offence could not be quashed.